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Boris Johnson faces disciplinary action over burqa jibe

Press Trust of India  |  London 

The row over Britain's former Boris Johnson's disparaging remark comparing burqa-clad women to letter boxes and refuses to die down, forcing the to launch disciplinary action against him today.

In a newspaper article on Monday, Johnson had opposed a complete ban on Islamic in line with the recent ban in Denmark, but said that "it was absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes".

The ruling party has reportedly received dozens of complaints about his comments. The complaints will now be looked at by an independent panel.

If the three-member panel find a breach of the party's code of conduct, they could refer Johnson to the party's board, which would have the power to suspend or expel him.

The party's code states that elected representatives must "lead by example to encourage and foster respect and tolerance" and not "use their position to bully, abuse, victimise, harass or unlawfully discriminate against others".

"The code of conduct process is strictly confidential," a said, refusing to elaborate on the procedure.

The inquiry comes as the former Cabinet refused to buckle under pressure from and many of his former colleagues to apologise for his remarks.

"I do think that we all have to be very careful about the language and terms we use," May said.

A senior party Muslim peer, Lord Sheikh, called for him to be kicked out of the party, referred to as withdrawing the

Johnson's remarks have come under severe criticism, with some branding them as a sign Islamophobia in the UK's ruling

A hundred Muslim women who wear the niqab or have signed a letter to party Brandon Lewis, calling on him to withdraw the from Johnson and launch an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in the party.

However, Johnson has also received some support for speaking out bluntly over the issue. A leading imam from at the Oxford Islamic Congregation, Dr Taj Hargey, said the and former of should "not apologise for telling the truth".

"The and niqab are hideous tribal ninja-like garments that are pre-Islamic, non-Koranic and therefore un-Muslim," he wrote in The Times'.

was also forced to wade into the debate, with saying that while many have found Johnson's remarks offensive, officers had decided that he did not commit an offence.

"I also know that many other people believe strongly that in the whole of the article, what Mr Johnson appears to have been attempting to do was to say that there shouldn't be a ban and that he was engaging in a legitimate debate," she said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, August 09 2018. 22:15 IST